Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preparing for a Year of Greeting Cards

I read an interesting article last Thursday on Unclutterer singing the praises of an online service that will let you pre-order greeting cards for pretty much any occasion. Customers can have varied levels of involvement with the cards- the company will even inscribe and mail them if you so choose.

While that might be a nice service for some, I really like to sign my own cards and, in most cases, I like to make them as well. But then I thought a little more about it, and I realized that such a "service" would be pretty nifty to implement on your own- it just requires some planning ahead, but once that's done you're free to create any type of card at any time (meaning if you feel the urge to make a Halloween card in the middle of November like I did last weekend, go for it).

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This card was lifted from the cover of the September/October issue of Paper Crafts magazine. I love that it used lot of scraps (I went nuts with the circle punch and made enough for two cards while I was at it) and gave me a chance to break out my Cricut Happy Hauntings cartridge again.

So, back to this greeting card system that I have grand plans for implementing (we'll see how far I get with it)...it goes a little something like this:
  • Make a list of all birthday, anniversary, Mother's day, Father's day, and other cards that need to be sent for the entire year, along with the name of the recipient.
  • Track down any missing dates or addresses (your aunt Susie's anniversary and your college-age second cousin twice-removed's current dorm room address can be tricky things to keep up with) and add them to the list.
  • List any holidays (Valentine, Halloween, Christmas) that you send out mass numbers of cards for, along with the names of the recipients of those cards (for instance, your Christmas list is probably a lot longer than your Valentine list).
  • It's probably a good idea to throw in some generic sympathy, wedding, baby, get well, and thank you cards as well.
  • Now, with all that data in hand, you're ready to plan how many and what kind of cards you'll need for each month (I like the idea of actually listing them out under a heading for each month). The beauty of this is that you can work ahead- go ahead and make Valentine cards in December if you like!- and always know exactly how many and what kind of card you'll need to make.
  • Make a mailing kit with a nice pen, various envelopes (depending on what size cards you usually make), some stamps, and some return address labels. Keep it in an easily accessible spot. Another idea is to go ahead and address the envelopes for the cards as they're made and file them away by month until you're ready to mail them (a great thing to do for Christmas cards made in the middle of March).
One huge perk to all this date-and-address organization is that it only needs to be done once, and then you can just maintain it as people come and go in your life. It can also be done in tiny increments- set your kitchen time for 15 minutes and knock out little bits of it each day or week until your list is complete!

As for the fun part of actually making the cards, I'm sure you already have some favorite places to visit for inspiration. A few of mine are:
I'm going to sit down sometime soon after Thanksgiving and start my list for next year, then get cracking on January's cards. Maybe I'll actually be better about getting them sent out this year than I was last year!